[Tweeters] Seattle Audubon Kittitas Co. trip
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Wed Mar 18 15:12:44 PDT 2015
Yesterday, Seattle Auduboners took a trip to Kittitas Co. for sage birds. We
started out the day with high overcast and slightly chilly weather. As we
drove toward Snoqualmie Pass we had a couple of COMMON RAVENs fly over the
cars. At the Pass there were several AMERICAN CROWs picking at the ground
and a VARIED THRUSH sang across the freeway.
Down past Cle Elum we began to pick up BLACK-BILLED MAGPIEs. Paralleling the
Yakima River along the borrow ponds along I-90 had an adult BALD EAGLE, a
GREAT BLUE HERON, 7 TUNDRA SWANs, and a few MALLARDs. East of Canyon Rd.
there was a RED-TAILED HAWK. As we drove into Kittitas there were several
EUROPEAN STARLINGs, at least 3 EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVEs, and HOUSE SPARROW.
As we went up Caribou Rd. we saw a CANADA GOOSE, an AMERICAN ROBIN and a
distant RED-TAILED HAWK near an old nest.
Along Vantage Hwy we had a RING-NECKED PHEASANT. Turning off Vantage Hwy
onto Parke Creek Rd. we stopped to scan the pond and saw MALLARD,
RING-NECKED DUCK, AMERICAN WIGEON, AMERICAN COOT, GREATER SCAUP, 1 LESSER
SCAUP, BUFFLEHEAD, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD , DARK-EYED JUNCO and KILLDEER. As
we returned up Parke Creek Rd. there was a very scruffy RED-TAILED HAWK. As
we started to climb on Vantage Hiway there was a male MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, and
a HORNED LARK almost flew into the car. We stopped up just past the turnoff
into Wild Horse Windfarm. We had a pair of MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDs, a nice
singing SAGE THRASHER, two perched SAGEBRUSH SPARROWs (one obligingly sang),
a very, very brief look at a BREWER'S SPARROW and a distant WESTERN
MEADLOWLARK. Down the road a the lower Quilomene Wildlife Area there was
another SAGEBRUSH SPARROW and a singing distant HORNED LARK. A RED-TAILED
HAWK flew by.
At the end of Recreation Road we saw about 50+ GREATER SCAUP out on the
Columbia, a few BUFFLEHEAD, a small group of RUDDY DUCKs, a HORNED GREBE, a
PIED-BILLED GREBE and several hundred VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWs (we tried to
pull a different swallow out, but couldn't), and two ROCK WRENS very nicely
gave us decent looks. A GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET called and was seen at the
turnaround. At lunch up at the interpretive center (closed), we saw a
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER. The usual pair of SAY'S PHOEBEs was making initial
looks at the nest. Down Huntzinger Rd. we saw an AMERICAN KESTREL, We
noticed that the river level appeared to be higher, and when we stopped down
by Wanapam Dam Neil Zimmerman looked up progress on the dam repair and found
that the final filling started the day before. In a little embayment we saw
several COMMON GOLDENEYE, a few BUFFLEHEAD and across the river a single
COMMON LOON. At the turnout a bit down the road we had a CANYON WREN singing
when we got out of the cars. Wanapum State Park is open, and we made a brief
stop - pretty quiet, but we did have HOUSE FINCH and AMERICAN ROBIN.
Returning to Ellensburg along I-90 we had a NORTHERN HARRIER perched along
the fenceline. We returned along SR10 hoping for raptors along the cliffs,
but they must have been elsewhere yesterday afternoon. At the Teanaway River
crossing, in the marsh we saw a really nice male HOODED MERGANSER. As we
retuned along I-90 we saw a TURKEY VULTURE just past the Roslyn turnoff.
Along the way we also saw ROCK PIGEON, MOURNING DOVE, BELTED KINGFISHER,
NORTHERN FLICKER, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, SONG SPARROW, BREWER'S BLACKBIRD.
It was a very nice day with initially cool, but warming temperatures and NO
WIND! A really nice day with a good group of birders!
Brian H. Bell
bell asoc a t iso me dia dot com
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